In addition to showcasing production systems, landscapes and leadership groups from another part of the country, the VALOR US Regional seminar in September reinforced the fact that the agricultural industry in this country is impacted by a number of common forces, regardless of the particular segment or geographic area considered.
For example, in both Indianapolis and Chicago, we experienced efforts aimed at education and interaction with the non-farm public. In Northern Indiana, we looked at several alternative energy projects. Projects similar to these are installed or under consideration in the Commonwealth. In Western Michigan, labor, water, and regulation were commonly discussed on our stops. Conversations like these occur regularly in Virginia.
One may wonder why a state-focused industry leadership program would travel to other states and other continents. Last week I received a phone call from Luke, the host I stayed with in Michigan. A quick fifteen-minute conversation reinforced the fact that there is much to learn from each other as we encounter and navigate issues.
What common themes will emerge when we step off the plane in Buenos Aires in March? What connections will be made, and what will we learn? I can’t wait to find out.